A Year of Being Engaged (Both Politically and Romantically)

My wedding was in the summer of 2016. Without a doubt, planning a wedding was one of the most stressful things I have ever done in my life. On the actual day I felt jittery, and not that happy fluttery I’m-about-to-get-married type of jittery you see in the movies. I’m talking shaky, nauseous and lightheaded all at the same time. Nothing seemed to affect me the same way, not coffee, not food, not the ridiculous amounts of champagne.

There’s something called post-wedding blues. In some cases it’s represented as just “depression” because, as a woman, you’re expected to love weddings and love pretty things and planning.

I had post-wedding blues, but not because I missed wedding planning. I had post-wedding blues because I had spent over a year in a state of heightened anxiety and my body didn’t believe that it was over. It took weeks to relax enough for the wedding nightmares to stop. I didn’t miss wedding planning, but I sure was blue.

The feelings I struggle with now are not unlike that time. It’s been over a year since the 2016 election, and while I’m not as anxious as I was last winter, I still feel different. “This is Not Normal” has become a rallying cry for the Resistance. And yes, it’s not normal. But in some ways it’s the new normal. I still wake up every day, I still brush my teeth and drink my coffee and go outside. It’s not normal, and it doesn’t feel like normal. But I’ve learned to find moments of normal in the past year. I’ve learned to memorize politicians’ names and parties, I’ve learned to switch to news channels more often. I’ve learned that Twitter can be a fantastic resource as well as a cesspool.

I’ve learned to find moments of humor in order to stay engaged. I’ve learned that sometimes getting down to the details is a way of getting lost and not seeing the big picture, and sometimes a research rabbit hole is the best way to spend three hours.  

But I still have post-election blues. It’s not normal, and it shouldn’t be. I don’t want my body to get used to this.

I want to jump to attention when I hear of an action I can take. I want to move and help others and defend myself and be part of it all. And some days I want to do all that from my couch, from my laptop. I’ve learned to take a day off once in awhile, not from everything but at least from a few things. I’ve learned that having a meme folder on your phone is a lifesaver. I’ve learned that self-care is self-preservation, not a search for enlightenment. And I’ve learned how to patch myself up enough to get back out there and keep doing the work.

Because at the end of it all, no matter how the wedding goes, there’s a marriage to build after it. And for us, no matter how the election went, there’s still a world to build every day. I remember that I’m not doing any of it alone, but that in no way means I’m not needed.

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